Papua New Guinea’s National Rugby League Competition the Digicel Cup competition kicks off on Saturday May 8, 2021 after approval was granted by the Pandemic Controller’s Office last week (Friday April 30, 2021).
PNGRFL CEO Stanley Hondina said this in a statement following an audience with the Pandemic Controller David Manning last week.
“On Wednesday (April 28, 2021) we received correspondence from the Controller granting conditional approval and recommending two options for serious consideration
1) For all teams to be based in one city or centre and play all its games at a location preferably chosen by their office that have less cases compared to others or
2) run the competition in two cities or centre concurrently with no spectators until the Covid 19 situation improves,” Hondina said. “A response was sent yesterday (Thursday April 29, 2021) advising that the PNGNRLC would go for alternative 2 and requested an audience to understand and confirm the conditions and
protocols under which the competition would be played.”
Hondina said formal approval was granted this morning to kick off the premier competition on Saturday May 8, 2021 and Sunday May 9, 2021 in Port Moresby and Lae on Sunday May 9, 2021 under the strict ‘Banis’ Protocols.
“For the next five weeks, games will be played in Port Moresby and Lae with NO spectators allowed,” Hondina said. “A review will then be made on the no spectators policy and extending the competition to other centres.”
“I urge all our franchises in particular the players and coaching staff and managements to adhere strictly to the Banis protocols,” Hondina said. “We had a very successful season in 2020 and repay the ‘confidence’ entrusted on us to play the Digicel Cup competition.”
He expressed sincere gratitude to Pandemic Controller David Manning, Dr Daoni Esorom and staff for the approval.
Also, a big thanks to naming rights sponsors Digicel as well as SP Brewery and Motor Vehicle Insurance Ltd for their support.
“All Port Moresby matches will be televised ‘live’ while arrangements are being made for games in Lae to be replayed a day or two later,” he said.
He added the draws will be released over the next few days.